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The Trustees have a policy to maintain the capital value of the assets of the Trust, in order to best serve the long-term needs of their community.  

The Guidelines for distribution of the interest, dividends and rental income were discussed by the Settlor, Sir William Leech with the Trustees and were eventually written down.

They were, by their very nature, broadly based so as to leave the Trustees the opportunity to react to the great changes that he foresaw and to enable them to meet the basic criterion of helping the people of the North East of England to help other people in the community.   Grants are made at the discretion of the Trustees, with an emphasis on those who are voluntarily helping others.

In 2015 the Trustees ammended the guidelines in order to be representative of today's requirments.

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Sir William Leech was a successful builder and businessman in the North East, whose philanthropy was driven by his evangelical Christian beliefs.  He wanted to share his success with those who were engaged in spreading the Gospel of Christ throughout the world and at home, as well as to encourage local and community spirited people to sustain and create interest in charitable work.

It was Sir Williams’s wish to leave a lasting asset to help the people of the North East. Accordingly, the William Leech Charity (“the Charity”) was established by Sir William in 1972. Following his death in 1990 further assets were added to the Charity by his widow Lady Ellen Leech under her will when she died 1999. The assets held by the Trustees are referred to as the Fund.


The Trustees are empowered by the terms of the Charity to distribute as much of the income and of the capital of the Fund to such charitable organisations as they from time think fit. In practice, taking one year with another, the Trustees distribute all of the income, and on rare occasions part of the capital.

These guidelines have been produced by the Trustees in order to help grant applicants to decide whether an application may be appropriate. The Trustees are not bound by the guidelines and may from time to time make grants which do not strictly fall within the guidelines. Revisions to the guidelines may be made at any time to ensure that the Charity continues to meet the challenges of a rapidly changing world.

The Charity will expect applicants to operate within the framework of traditional British values.

Grants will only be made to UK registered charities and to Community Interest Companies.



Mission Statement

“To encourage the improvement of the physical, mental, spiritual and economic quality of life for people in the North East of England through the support of charitable organisations which aspire to high ethical standards and to the highest standards in their field.”

William Leech Charity

Charitable organisations favoured by the Trustees

  • Organisations which operate for the benefit of the North East of England.
  • Organisations which display effective and dynamic leadership.
  • Organisations which have an innovative and creative ethos.
  • Organisations for which a grant will have an appreciable effect.
  • Organisations where the effect of a grant can be measured and evaluated.
  • Organisations in which a substantial proportion of the work is preferably undertaken by volunteers.
  • Organisations which encourage people, particularly young people, to help themselves.
  • Organisations which look forwards to the future, and particularly towards the creation of employment.
  • Organisations which operate in any fields or at any level of society where those operations are designed to improve quality of life.
  • Organisations involved in ground breaking focussed research.

General guidance

  • In general terms, the Trustees wish to encourage and support innovative and effective charitable activities across the North East. They look for opportunities where their support will make a big difference. They are prepared to make fast decisions and to give support where other funders may hesitate.
  • The Trustees will particularly favour applications where they consider that the grant will have an appreciable impact.
  • Grants will only rarely be made to large national organisations unless they have a substantial North Eastern connection.
  • The Trustees may occasionally consider supporting an organisation with regular grants over a fixed period which will not normally exceed three years. Apart from these, grants will not be made, unless previously agreed, to organisations which have received funding within the previous 12 months.
  • Repayable interest free loans may be made to organisations faced with an unexpected crisis.
  • The Trustees may very occasionally support an unusual application, usually relatively small, which does not strictly fall within these guidelines.
  • Grant applications will normally be made by email through the Charity’s website , which sets out the process and requirements.
  • The Trustees will require reports at appropriate intervals after a grant has been made, demonstrating how the grant has been applied and its effect on the achievement of the goals for which it was given. The Trustees may enquire into the use of the grant.
  • Grants will not be made to individuals.
  • Grants will not be made for gap years, or for personal travel which could be considered as holiday.


The Lady Leech Fund

General guidance

Lady Leech wished to extend the scope of the William Leech Charity to benefit the Developing World, and did so by leaving the larger part of her estate to the Charity under her will. To reflect this gift 16% of the Fund is designated as The Lady Leech Fund. Lady Leech wished that the Lady Leech Fund should be used to meet the needs primarily of children and particularly in the Developing World.

The Trustees have therefore set out the following additional guidance for applicants considering an application for a grant out of the Lady Leech Fund.

  • Grants will be made primarily for the benefit of children and particularly in the Developing World, by which is meant any part of the world in which a substantial proportion of the population suffers for any reason from a failure to have access to accepted basic minimum standards of life.
  • Grants may also be used to help with any major disaster anywhere in the world.
  • Grants will generally only be made to a charity registered in the UK.
  • Grants will generally only be made to charities with some North Eastern connection through which the Trustees can ensure that the grant is being used for the intended purpose.
  • Grants will not be made to individuals, for gap years, or for personal travel which could be considered as holiday.